40 Years Ago: World’s First “Test Tube Baby”

In July 1978, Louise Brown was hailed as the world's first "test-tube baby,” born through the fertility treatment in-vitro fertilization (IVF). At the time, IVF was an extremely experimental process. Louise’s mother, Lesley, was told there was one in a million chance of success. Dr. Mike Macnamee, chief executive at the world's first IVF clinic (Bourn Hall in Cambridge) believes Louise "really was a miracle.”

In the 80s, researching embryologists discovered a way to successfully cryo-preserve embryos. Now families had the option for placing remaining embryos in frozen storage, to use for future pregnancy attempts.

Since then, IVF has become increasingly popular among families facing infertility. According to estimates from 2013, more than five million people worldwide have been born through IVF. The birth of Louise was truly a pioneering event. As a result, it is estimated and over one million frozen embryos are stored within the United States alone. Another pioneering event was the establishment of the first embryo adoption program, 20 years after Louise was born. The Snowflakes Embryo Adoption Program was established to help families with some of these remaining embryos choose an adoptive family willing to give them a chance at life. To learn more about embryo adoption and donation, visit EmbyroAdoption.org.